Monday, March 18, 2013

Don't tell me you watched that debacle?

When you see a couple at the movies, it's doubtful that you've ever wondered how'd they end up here? For my wife and I last Saturday night, a few things had to occur. Initially and most difficult, we had to get my mother-in-law to watch our son overnight.  Next, we devoured our dinner, so that we could make it to the dirt mall in time. And finally, I gently talked her out of Safe Haven (bullet dodged?) and persuaded her to something, ideally, not as awful. All things considered, nothing too surprising, right?

Turns out, green cleavage is my second favorite...right behind all other colors.
Now, that was an origin story that no one asked for. Oz the Great and Powerful, judging by recent box office numbers, has proven itself to be the exact opposite. When I first saw the preview, my initial thought was no f--king way I'm ever seeing that mess. But when pitted against a flick starring Fergie's husband, I changed it to  Yeah, could I please get two tickets to that delightful Oz movie, good sir? Pretty sure that's how I talk.

Look, I respect The Wizard of Oz. I do. I'm sure I've seen it, all pieced together, at least twenty times (including that time in college where some hippie kid had something amazing to show us!). But I don't revere it. I'm not like that kid in my film classes who answered every question with, Well, in the Wizard of Oz, Victor Fleming decided to....Nope. Not that guy. So what the shit was I doing opening weekend watching the seemingly ill-advised prequel with a tired, pregnant lady? Outside of avoiding Juliana Hough's mysterious past, well, I'm not exactly sure.

While I won't really (publicly) snicker at anyone who liked this movie, by the end, I thought it was a huge ol' pile of unnecessary. Sure, the cast was charming and the images rather pretty (we saw it in 2D), it just didn't matter to me. At all. Clearly I'm not the target demographic here, but I'm not sure who is. I mean, if I have a hankering for some live-action Disney fairy tales, I'll just fire up Enchanted. I mean, not that I own it or anything.

I actually think that Oz was fairly well-conceived and downright clever at times, but it was lacking something. You cool kids that went in fresh might have a different opinion, but Mr. Brown here, knows exactly what was missing. Suspense. Sure, ultimately, we all knew how this was going to end, but I knew specifically. So did every seventh grader (awake) in my class. A few weeks back we performed a readers theater version of the film, and spoiler alert: it ruined everything. And I'm not just talking about the kids stammering through the relatively simple dialogue, no. The wordsmiths at Scholastic frickin' nailed the entire film in just ten short scenes. At the time I didn't think I'd end up seeing it. But that was before Nicholas Sparks.

Obviously then, my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt. By that, I mean dismissed entirely. Here are the Yays and Boos. Regrettably, they were dismissed from their positions in the Lollipop Guild and ended up here. Turns out being painfully unfunny is frowned upon in Oz.

At first I thought, Damn. Even Oz has a Chinatown. And then, Ooohh.
  • I actually liked the silly black-and-white opening in 1905 Kansas. 
  • Oz the Great and Powerful Ass Machine. Seriously, Oz gets it done. You think Costco sells tiny music boxes?
  • Even though it was in the trailer, I was a big fan of the color burst and aspect widening when seeing Oz for the first time.
  • So, where exactly do I turn off the yellow brick road to buy my wife the tightest black pants ever created.
  • Speaking of amazing visual splendor, I thought the China Doll girl was one of the coolest special effects I've seen in a long time. Sure she's a tad creepy (and a lot annoying), but damn if she didn't look incredible.
  • Zach Braff as Finley was intermittently funny, when not looking astonishingly creepy. Moooooooo
  • Okay, the three ladies are all very beautiful, but since when did Michelle Williams become insanely hot? I mean, damn. When she's all laying on the table and such, I was thinking she should disrobe and show us something great and powerful.
  • And finally, while I think far too many people can't stand James Franco, I personally find the guy very likable. Sure, he was pretty awful in the Spider-Man flicks, but I liked him here.
Them's some fine bubbles, ma'am. Mighty fine, indeed.
  • So, the Wicked Witch is basically a jilted idiot, right? I mean, she falls for a dude, like, eleven minutes after she meets him? The only person who falls harder, faster is the highschool version of yours truly.
  • Oscar Diggs, animal killer. So this is what is sounds like when doves cry. 
  • Um, pretty sure when you throw a fireball you don't just yell, you yell hadouken. Witch, please.
  • Scary Flower Monsters not being scary. I blame this on the 2D experience, naturally. Though my wife peed herself on Cloud Monkey.
  • Which made me laugh a little. Her revenge? The ultimate Boo: She went to sleep.
  • Okay, Bruce Campbell shouldn't take shit from anybody, especially Mrs. Parker's husband. Older the berry, the sweeter the juice.
  • Does Sam Raimi have stock in screaming, old hags? Just curious.
  • I always thought I'd be more excited for mid-air witch on witch action. Made me long for the Golden Snitch.
  • And finally, this potentially being a kid's movie and all, what was with Glinda's line at the end? Oh my. It's very tight in here. Oh, c'mon. I'm trying to keep my thoughts pure for at least five consecutive minutes and you drop this one on me? Really?
Maybe we're learning that origin stories from beloved films, while being interesting on paper, tend to be anti-climactic. Maybe we should focus on what happens after the fact.

Take that couple at the theater for example. What did they do after the movie? Here's a hint:
It wasn't great. And it wasn't powerful.

Whoa. Minds out of the gutters, guys. We went to sleep.


  1. Ha! Your origin story sounds like every time my husband and I go to the movies as well. Finding a babysitter, scarfing down our food, anywho..

    I don't hate James Franco either. I find him quite fascinating. I had no idea Zach Braff was in this either. Just another reason for me to avoid it, I guess.

    1. Our son is three and a half, and I've think we've been to the movies four times total. Me alone? Well, that number's a bit higher...

      What's up with the Franco hate? I don't really get it. Was it the Oscars?

      Anyway, missing this one isn't a loss at all. It's not awful...but that's not exactly a compliment either.

  2. Sorry you didn't like this one more, the visuals were enough for me, especially that poppy field scene, damn! :)

    Williams looked hot indeed I really liked how...playful her Glinda was :D LOL at that last line of hers :P

    1. Looking back, I guess I really didn't expect to. I bet the 3D was great though. (that version started 30 minutes no way we were doing that)

      Seriously! For whatever reason, I had forgotten how pretty she was. I think you called her 'luminous' in your review, right? Exactly.

  3. Not perfect, but an okay movie to watch if you want a bit of fun. Also, Franco is a lot better here than everybody gave him credit for. Good review M.

    1. I'm cool with okay. That's probably the extent of it.

  4. I agree with pretty much everything you said here. Anti-climactic is so true. At the end you’re like.. oh so nothing really got resolved. I see. I appreciate your pervy thoughts as well. Hard not to have some with so many attractive leads.

    What is this readers theater you speak of? I wish they had that when I was in school.

  5. This is what I'm saying!

    Oh, c'mon, Reader's Theater? I'm sure you had that!
    Anyway, it's usually a small play that has 10-15 parts to be read aloud. Usually, there's a bunch of narrators in addition to the leads so that everyone gets the chance to perform. We get these Weekly Readers and the readers theater is always based on a current flick that is arriving on DVD or in theaters.

    1. I seriously do not remember this at all! At least not anything to do with new movies. Sounds fun.

  6. O.K., now that I've finally gotten around to watching and reviewing this movie I came back to read your hilarious review. Priceless! :-)

    I liked this movie more than you did. Actually I liked this movie more than most people did. It helped that I was watching it with a 9-year-old beside me. One who hadn't seen the ubiquitous promos and had no idea who would turn out to be the real wicked witch. I'm here to tell you Mr. Brown, for at least one person in North America, there was some suspense. ;-)

    1. I read your review of Oz and it was very good. Your prior knowledge actually made you enjoy it more, though yours was of the 'cool' variety. I didn't even realize that there was a series of books...I always thought there was just one.

      And, believe me, the joy of bringing a sidekick along who actually has a good time, isn't lost on me. My sidekick was a bit older than 9, and fell asleep.

      Hence my indifference, perhaps?

    2. Yes, that definitely makes a big difference. :-) Of course, when I was pregnant, it wouldn't have mattered what movie I was watching. I was always so exhausted I could fall asleep during a nuclear holocaust.

    3. Pregnant ladies. Can't take 'em anywhere.